MURFREESBORO — Having dealt with “down but not out’’ desperate situations before in tennis, Alex Metzman was ready for this one.
In a now or never scenario, Metzman was trailing his University School of Nashville teammate Sreyas Reddy 5-2 in the decisive third set. But he rallied to win the match in the District II-A state singles final Friday in the BlueCross Spring Fling tournament.
The Tiger freshman survived the loss of a first-set tie-breaker and scored a 6-7 (3-7), 6-2, 7-5 victory in a tough 2-and-a-half hour duel of players who led USN to a second straight team championship on Wednesday.
“I’ve been in those type matches before in tournament play. Once, I was down one set and 5-2, 0-40, but I came back and won in a tie-breaker,’’ Metzman said. “Another time, I was down 5-2 in then third set and came back.’’
“You just have to keep calm. Sreyas had some of his friends yelling for him, but you just have to concentrate on what you’re doing and what you need to do and not lose focus,’’ Metzman said.
In the third set, Reddy appeared in complete control and had a match point at 5-4. But on his approach to net, he hit wide on a relatively easy volley. Two other times later, he was up 30-0, two points from winning the match, but ended up losing both games.
Reddy took a 3-2 lead after breaking Metzman at love, then broke again for a 5-2 lead as he appeared headed down easy street. But just after Metzman broke serve to close to 5-4, he shouted “Keep Fighting!!’’
A freshman, Metzman plays No. 2 on the USN team behind Reddy, although he has beaten Reddy in all three tourney matchups this season.
“I’m very happy with winning and the way I came back,’’ Metzman said. “At the same time, I feel badly for Sreyas, who is a senior with it being his last high school match. We have been good teammates and good friends.’’
Sathvik Reddy (Sreyas’ younger brother) and Michael Stephanides, two ninth-graders, made it a clean sweep for USN by winning the doubles. The Tigers swept team, singles and doubles this week.
“I think we have a lot of promise for next season, too,’’ added Metzman, whose team will go for a three-peat.
USN senior Olivia Doochin and junior Caroline Awh lost in the finals of the DII-A girls division. USN finished runnerup in the team event.
• Ezell’s Hale finishes runnerup: Ezell-Harding senior Erick Hale got to the Class A/AA singles final before the Eagle ace lost to USJ’s Colton Norton 6-1, 6-0.
“I played good all the way through the tournaments,’’ Hale said. “But he (Norton) was just better than I was today.
“I got burned out and quit the team early in the season,’’ said Hale who was 10-0 in the regular season. “But the coach and some of my friends convinced me to come back, and I’m glad I did,’’ added Hale who will attend MTSU where he’s considering walking on.
• Bruins rally in doubles: Brentwood High freshman Alex Howard and senior Beau Blacksheer won the Class AAA doubles championship. They were blitzed 6-0 in the first set, then stormed back to beat Maryville’s Lucas Kelley and Riota Yoshida 0-6, 6-1, 6-4 in that final.
In the AAA singles final, Science Hill ace Chris Smith blew past Brentwood’s Drake Hernandez 6-1, 6-0 to win that title.
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